An explosion was heard before the fire began in a Civic restaurant. Photo: Judith Ireland
The Sydney building in Civic is on fire, with smoke billowing from restaurant following an explosion on Monday morning.
ESA said firefighters have been forced to a defensive position due to the heat of the fire and the partial collapse of the ceiling at the rear of the building.
Crews are searching the first floor of the building, believed to Japanese restaurant Coo, to find the source of the fire.
The ESA said in a statement the building was heavily smoke logged, and more firefighters had been called in to assist.
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Peter Spencer was working across the road at Tossolinis when he heard an explosion.
“I came out and saw the shop front had exploded out, then the roof started smoking,” he said.
Authorities were called to the building about 9.45am following reports of an explosion inside the restaurant.
The bus interchange in Civic has since been closed, and pedestrians are being advised to avoid the area.
ACT Policing said the fire is affecting Verity Lane, East Row, London Circuit and Alinga Street in Civic.
Three pumpers, the breathing apparatus van, hazardous materials unit and two commanders are on the scene, as well as ACT Policing.
An ambulance is also on the scene, though at 10.20am, no one had required treatment.
Dramatic photos of plumes of smoke billowing from the building have quickly spread on social media; here’s some of the best: